NYLAG’s Shelter Advocacy Initiative (SAI) provides a comprehensive array of legal services designed to help people without homes access NYC Department of Homeless Services. Each year, tens of thousands of homeless adults and families are denied emergency shelter by the NYC Department of Homeless Services for reasons that are often complex and difficult to understand. These individuals and families can appeal the denial, but without assistance from an attorney, the denials are most often upheld by New York State. SAI provides advice, advocacy, and representation during the shelter intake and appeal processes to help clients gain access to emergency shelter and, once in shelter, ensure they receive the services they need.


  • Counseling individuals and families confused by the shelter intake or fair hearing process
  • Representing homeless families and individuals who are appealing a shelter denial in Administrative Hearings
  • Providing follow-up legal assistance and advocacy in cases of wrongful shelter evictions and substandard living conditions
  • Helping win accommodations for medical and mental health needs